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Wednesday, 11th May 2016

Little Rock, AR - Media Reviews

Def Leppard impressive at Verizon By Jack W. Hill | Link 2

Like an uncaged feline, Def Leppard proved its prowess at prowling its surroundings Wednesday night at Verizon Arena. The band’s hit-making days may have slowed down, but apparently no one told the band, which powered through a high-tech evening of basic rock ‘n’ roll, mixed with a bit of pop, hard rock and heavy metal. Not “hair metal,” mind you.

The intense English lads gave the fans a 93-minute set packed with a plethora of the band’s hits, beginning with “Let’s Go” and continuing on with “Animal” and 14 more, the highlights of which were the instrumental, “Switch 625,” plus “Hysteria,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” and an extremely tasteful cover of David Essex’s “Rock On,” a hit four years before Def Leppard began its career.

A two-song encore featured “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph,” and just as impressive as the band’s performance was their special effects projected onto a giant screen behind them, ranging from a kaleidoscope effect to a background that recalled Las Vegas, along with one that demonstrated a sort of calligraphy and film strips that combined photos and films of the band playing in previous years.

Lead singer Joe Elliott was in command at Verizon, strutting about, but chatting a bit now and then and being quite considerate of his band mates, introducing them one at a time on the runway that extended into the audience. Other than that, the stage was rather simple, except for the drum riser built to maximize the skills of drummer Rick Allen, who lost his left arm in a car crash 32 years ago, though you might never know it from the impressive percussion skills he still maintains.

Elliott credited bassist Rick Savage for having helped him develop the idea to start Def Leppard “some 39 years ago,” as Elliott recalled it. Guitarist Phil Collen, shirtless and muscular, was a walking testament to the vegan lifestyle (as was the even older Paul McCartney, who graced the same stage at the end of April). Second lead guitarist Vivian Campbell also displayed impressive chops and the two frequently alternated and played simultaneously to great effect.

The show included two opening acts: Tesla and REO Speedwagon, who were new to Verizon Arena, but old hands at shows in Little Rock at Barton Coliseum. REO, formed a decade before Def Leppard, wowed the crowd with their continuing ability to play their melodic hits, getting almost an hour to do so.

By Arkansas Online 2016.


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